The state of Florida has established a number of laws regarding automated external defibrillators (AEDs), with the goal of ensuring that these medical devices are always readily available in the event of a cardiac emergency.
These life-saving devices are required in many public high schools, assisted living facilities, and dental offices, and are recommended for every state park. If you manage a public or private facility or are involved with high school athletic events, you’ll need to be familiar with AED laws in Florida.
Some Public Schools Are Required to Have an AED
According to Florida Statutes – 1006.165, every public school that is affiliated with the Florida High School Athletic Association must have a working defibrillator on school grounds, and the device should be present for every athletic contest.
Every school employee and volunteer who is expected to use this lifesaving defibrillator device must complete appropriate training requirements in cardiopulmonary resuscitation and AED use, and the defibrillator must be registered with a local EMS medical director.
Recommended AED for High Schools: Physio Control LIFEPAK CR2
For use in a school building, we recommend the LIFEPAK CR2 thanks to its versatility in catering to adults and minors. This model includes a Child Mode button that delivers a reduced level of shock to victims under 55 pounds or under 8 years old. That’s one reason why it’s a popular choice with school districts nationwide.
Given that an untrained bystander may be the first person on the scene, the CR2’s ClearVoice audible instructions ensure that anyone can use the device, and there is even a toggle to change the voice coaching language in a bilingual environment. Unlike most of the portable defibrillators available today, the CR2 allows heart compressions to continue while the device analyzes the patient’s heart. This is especially critical for minors where every second counts. It’s suitable for extreme heat and cold, so you can safely keep it in an outdoor cabinet on the school grounds.
AEDs Are Mandated for Some Assisted Living Facilities in Florida
Under Florida’s AED laws, described in Florida Statutes – 429.255, licensed assisted living facilities with 17 or more beds must maintain a functioning external defibrillator on the premises at all times. The AED must be equipped with written, visual, or audible instructions on its use, and the facilities are encouraged to register their device with a local EMS medical director.
Recommended AED for Assisted Living Facilities: HeartSine Samaritan PAD 350P
Thanks to its cost-effectiveness, the HeartSine Samaritan PAD 350P is an excellent option for small-scale assisted living facilities. While this model retails for less than $1,300, it is rugged, intuitive to use, and lightweight to carry.
The 350P offers easy-to-follow real-time coaching in CPR and defibrillation, meeting the requirement of audible usage instructions. The simple two-button operation is especially valuable during medical emergencies when it can be difficult to think clearly. One button delivers continuous voice coaching, and the other delivers a shock.
Every Florida Dental Office Must Have an AED
Florida’s AED laws for dental office locations are especially strict. This is partly because a dental office is a type of health care entity wherein local and general anesthetics are given. Under Florida Administrative Code – 64B5-17.015, any dentist who practices dentistry without an AED on site after February 28, 2006, “shall be considered to be practicing below the minimum standard of care.”
If you are a dentist in Florida and wish to maintain good standing with the profession and your patients (while also maintaining some degree of civil liability protection if a cardiac arrest occurs on your premises), a working portable defibrillator is essential.
Recommended AEDs for Dental Offices: Three Top Brands
The HeartSine Samaritan PAD 350P is an affordable, easy-to-use defibrillator that is ideal for a small, private practice. The Pad-Pak Pediatric Cartridge (sold separately) delivers a reduced charge that is suitable for children under 8 and the device comes with 90 minutes of internal memory to help with event recording after an incident.
Philips HeartStart FRx
Whereas the HeartSine PAD 350P has matching pediatric pads available, the Philips HeartStart FRx can be transformed into a pediatric defibrillator simply by inserting the Infant-Child key. This model is also perfect for use by a health professional such as a dentist because the coaching for CPR can be turned off if you would prefer to perform CPR on your own.
Cardiac Science Powerheart G5
The Cardiac Science Powerheart G5 offers similar features to the other defibrillator models (child-friendly pads available and customizable coaching). However, it comes with the unique capability to toggle between instructions in two languages. This is ideal for a dental practice in which staff members have diverse linguistic backgrounds.
State Parks Are Encouraged to Have an AED on Site
Under Florida Statutes – 258.0165, every state park is encouraged to maintain a working external defibrillator on site. According to Florida’s AED laws, parks that provide an AED should make sure that employees and volunteers are trained in its use and register the location of the device with a local EMS medical director.
Recommended for State Parks: Defibtech Lifeline VIEW
In an outdoor setting like a state park, rugged construction is extremely important. The Defibtech Lifeline VIEW is a solid choice because it has been shown capable of withstanding crush-testing up to 1,000 pounds and military drop-shock resistance. On top of that, it weighs less than 3 pounds—making it easy to transport the device quickly to a cardiac arrest victim. Because of its ruggedness, it’s also a popular model for law enforcement vehicles.
In case an untrained bystander needs to use the device, a full-color video demonstration guides them through the process of administering CPR and delivering a shock. Users can even adjust the coaching based on their experience, making it accessible to a layperson if a trained staff person is not around.
Florida Provides Some Civil Immunity to Bystanders
Like all U.S. states, Florida has a Good Samaritan law on the books that grants some level of legal immunity to lay responders and medical practitioners who—in good faith—act as responders in a cardiac emergency.
Even if the medical response attempt is ultimately unsuccessful, the would-be rescuers are generally protected so long as the evidence indicates that they acted without flagrant indifference or reckless disregard for the patient’s safety and responded as any reasonable person would when addressing a life-threatening medical condition (whether or not the person is subject to the requirement of training).
Ensure Compliance With Florida’s AED Laws
Whether or not it’s required by Florida AED law, a portable defibrillator is a must-have for any place where people gather. In Florida, you have immunity from civil damages in most cases when using an AED—provided that the device is kept in working condition and comes with instructions for use.
While having an AED is a great start, Florida also has laws regarding the way that external defibrillators must be maintained, displayed, and how expected users should be trained:
- Anyone who uses an automated external defibrillator is encouraged to complete basic training courses that include cardiopulmonary resuscitation training and the correct use of an AED. They should also be trained in the maintenance and operation of the specific defibrillator that their facility owns.
- User training refreshers should be conducted at least every two years, incorporating new advances in techniques and emergency care. Formal refresher training courses should be authorized by the Red Cross or American Heart Association.
- Any individual or entity in possession of an external defibrillator is encouraged to let the local EMS medical director or local public safety answering point know where it is located. Establish a notification procedure so that EMS receives an immediate notification of placement when the AED is moved to a different location.
- The proper placement of AEDs is important. Defibrillators in a state-owned or leased facility should be placed in a location that allows for a response time of three minutes or less. Federal buildings also require that AEDs be placed in locations where cardiac arrest is most likely to occur.
- A physician or a facility’s medical staff should oversee all aspects of an AED program.
- When an AED is used in the event of a sudden cardiac arrest, emergency medical services should be called as soon as possible.
- The state surgeon general has specific guidelines for placing defibrillators in buildings leased by the state. For instance, the building owner should provide a reference list of approved training courses and information about the extent to which devices can be used by lay responders.
- The serial number must never be removed from the AED, as this may suggest that the user is falsifying service records.
- Insurers are prohibited from excluding damages that result from the use of an AED device from coverage under a general liability policy issued to any association.
Need help navigating AED laws in Florida? Our comprehensive AED Program Management helps to ensure compliance with all relevant AED laws and make your program as effective as possible. It’s easy to follow Florida’s AED laws; it just takes a bit of planning and a bit of ongoing diligence.